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Reynolda House Museum of American Art appoints Elizabeth Chew as New Director of Interpretive Program

Submitted by on January 7, 2013 – 8:11 am

Reynolda House Museum of American Art has named Elizabeth Chew the museum’s Betsy Main Babcock Director of the Curatorial and Education Division. Chew comes to Reynolda House from Monticello, the historic Virginia estate of Thomas Jefferson, where she serves as curator. She will begin her new position at Reynolda House Feb. 1.

Elizabeth Chew Reynolda House Museum of American Art

In her new position, Chew will provide direction and leadership for the development of interpretation, programming, education and research of the museum’s collections and exhibitions. The collections of Reynolda House are comprised of the nationally acclaimed American art collection; the historic house collection, which includes decorative arts and costumes; and the archives.

Chew was recently featured on CBS Sunday Morning in a segment focused on the dichotomy of Thomas Jefferson as both champion of liberty and a slaveholder. She was instrumental in the creation of the Thomas Jefferson Visitor Center at Monticello which opened in 2009 and was co-curator of the exhibition “Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello: Paradox of Liberty,” on view at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture through October 2012 and opening at the Atlanta History Center in February.

Prior to joining Monticello in 2000, Chew was the assistant curator at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. She was also the exhibitions assistant in the department of American and British art at the National Gallery of Art, and served as the curatorial assistant in the department of photography at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. She is widely published on interdisciplinary scholarship ranging from family and gender to relationships between architecture and material culture.

A member of the museum’s National Advisory Council from 2009-2012, Chew received a bachelor’s degree in history of art from Yale University and a master’s degree in history of art from Courtauld Institute of Art in London. She earned a Ph.D. in the history of art from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2000. She is married and has a 10 year-old son.

The director of curatorial and educational affairs is an endowed position at the museum, funded by the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation in memory of Betsy Main Babcock. Four staff members in this division will report to Chew: Director of Public Programs Phil Archer, Director of Archives and Library Todd Crumley, Director of Education Kathleen Hutton and Curator Allison Slaby.

For more information, please visit reynoldahouse.org or call 336.758.5150

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